Trayvon Martin family attorney: Police "completely bungled" investigation

SANFORD, Fla. - A month ago Monday, Trayvon Martin died.

The shooting of the unarmed African-American teenager by a neighborhood watch volunteer in a Sanford neighborhood renewed the national conversation about race relations, gun laws, even how young men dress.

It sparked a national furor that burned all the way to the White House, prompting President Barack Obama last week to call for national soul-searching to discover how something so tragic could happen.

That furor continues Monday, with rallies planned for Pittsburgh; San Francisco; Houston; Atlanta; Indianapolis; Baltimore; Philadelphia; Detroit; Memphis, Tennessee; Iowa City, Iowa and Sanford -- where the City Commission is scheduled to hold a town hall meeting on the incident and its aftermath.

Martin's parents are expected to speak at the meeting.

Despite the passions surrounding the case, fundamental questions remain about exactly what happened on February 26 between the time George Zimmerman called 911 to report a suspicious person wearing a hoodie and the time police arrived to find Martin, face down on the ground, dead.

Zimmerman, 28, claims Martin attacked him and he shot in self-defense, according to police. Martin's family and supporters say the unarmed 17-year-old was no more threatening than the bag of Skittles candy and the iced tea he was carrying.

They have said they believe race played a role in the shooting. Zimmerman is a white Hispanic. His family said he has been mistakenly portrayed as racist.

A special prosecutor is investigating the case, with a grand jury scheduled to begin deliberations on April 10. The prosecutor, Angela Corey, said last week that she does not know if a grand jury will be necessary.

An attorney for the Martin family said Monday that any jury that sees the evidence in the case -- much of which she said was collected by investigators working on the Martin family's behalf -- would convict Zimmerman.

"Clearly, the investigation in this case was either bungled, or ignored completely," Natalie Jackson said of the initial police inquiry.

Sanford authorities say they could not arrest Zimmerman under Florida's "stand your ground" law, which allows people to use deadly force to defend themselves anywhere they feel a reasonable fear of death or serious injury. The evidence police had at the time didn't allow for an arrest, police have said.

Zimmerman's attorney said Sunday that after reviewing Florida's "stand your ground" law, he believes it applies to the situation and that his client is innocent.

Initially, lawyer Craig Sonner said last week the law didn't apply.

Zimmerman said he was driving in his gated community when he saw Martin walking and called 911 to report a suspicious person.

He told the dispatcher he was following the teen, but the dispatcher told him that wasn't necessary. Moments later, several neighbors called 911 to report a commotion outside, and police arrived to find Martin dead of a gunshot wound.

Sonner says his client was injured that night and went to the hospital with a broken nose and a serious cut on the back of his head.

In addition to the Florida investigation, Florida's governor has formed a task force to review the state's "stand your ground" law and the Justice Department is also investigating.

Sanford's city manager, Norton Bonaparte, also has said he is seeking an outside review of the police department's handling of the case.

Police Chief Bill Lee voluntarily went on paid administrative leave last week, saying his presence had become a distraction.

The neighborhood where Zimmerman was volunteering in the neighborhood watch could also face a lawsuit, the National Association of Black Journalists said, citing Martin family attorney Daryl Parks.

Parks spoke to the group's board of directors over the weekend.

There is evidence that the Twin Lakes homeowners' association told residents who saw suspicious activity to call Zimmerman if they could not contact the police, according to the association's statement.

Parks also said prosecuting Zimmerman on the state level would be preferable to federal charges, saying that a federal hate crime charge against Zimmerman would be a challenge, according to the group.

"Most state laws tend to be better for the prosecution of state crimes," Parks told the board members. "And that's why we see the federal authorities expressing, although gently, in their statements that they can only do so much if there's some type of race statements involved. The state officials don't have that problem."

But Parks said over the weekend that any arrest would be preferable to none.

"We want an arrest, period. And I think that the state aspect of that is the one that's most feasible, most attainable in this matter," he said.

Members of Martin's family were scheduled to speak at a town hall meeting at noon, and his parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, are also expected to speak at a meeting of the City Commission on Monday evening.

In addition

to the rallies, Martin family supporters declared Monday a day to wear hoodies to work.

Hoodies have become a potent symbol in the debate over Martin's death. Supporters have frequently worn the hooded sweatshirts during marches, saying clothing doesn't make someone suspicious.

Martin family attorney Natalie Jackson sought to drive home that point again on Monday.

"Hoodies don't carry guns," she said. "George Zimmerman carried a gun."

Zimmerman has not been heard from publicly since the shooting.

A spokeswoman for a risk mitigation and surveillance company said Sunday she could not comment on an Orlando Sentinel report that Zimmerman worked at the company's Maitland, Florida, office.

Spokeswoman Brandie Young said she could not comment on Zimmerman's current or future employment status, but "we can confirm he is not at the building, nor has he been since the incident."

"Our utmost concern is for the safety of our employees, specifically based on the potential turmoil that could arise from the recent announcement of a bounty for his capture," she said in a statement.

A handful of members from the New Black Panther Party have offered a $10,000 reward for Zimmerman's "capture."

CNN's Kim Segal, Greg Morrison and John Couwels contributed to this report.


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